BA Suicide MissionSeptember 30, 2009
Your company is in trouble. The recession, leading to a fall in business flights has blown a hole in your business projections and your accounts for the last financial year show you have lost £400 million. What do you do? You charge your passengers for choosing where they want to sit. The time-honoured practice of reserving a seat 24 hours before check-in for free will be gone by 7th October. If you have the temerity to want to sit next to your loved one, or have a window/aisle seat you’ll have to pay for the privilege. The parasite of budget airline practice is settling into the bowels of ‘The World’s Favourite Airline.’ Nice one, BA.
BA said the move would “give customers more control over their seating options.” But they already had options. They either got their seat request when they booked or they didn’t. Mostly, they did, even at the point of check-in. Anyway, here’s the breakdown: for European trips on economy, passengers pay an extra £10 per person, long-haul economy or business class short flights will leave you £20 lighter in the pocket and £60 for long haul business class travel will have your wallet reaching for the smelling salts. The emergency exit row will cost £50, to be booked between 10 and four days before take-off. Literally paying for your life. Checked baggage allowance has already been reduced and the meals on short flights after 10am have been removed.
I don’t like budget airlines. Correction. I don’t like Ryanair. I have only travelled on it once and so far I’ve maintained my promise that I will never do it again. Around ten years ago, I took a Ryanair flight to Glasgow Prestwick airport. I found myself on this plane with very little leg room between seats. This man, at over 6ft tall and half as wide was sitting next to me. Well, when I say sitting, I mean his knees were nearly touching his chin. I bet he didn’t bargain on a long hold Yoga position as part of the experience. He had to stay that way for the duration of the flight, poor bastard. Since then of course Ryanair has added all sorts of ‘extras,’ which used to be standard, meaning the ‘cheap’ flight is no longer cheap. To be fair, other budget airlines have added extras according to their individual policies, but if the stories are to be believed, it may soon cost you a pound to spend a penny on a Ryanair plane. You’d better start getting your bladder, bowels and pelvic floor into training to release before you embark, or hold once you’re on. And ladies, if you are going in a group for your hen weekend in Prague, make sure you live together for a couple of months before you go. That should be enough time for the strongest Uterus to dictate the timing of simultaneous menstruation so you can all relax into your flight. As much as anyone can relax in a tin box with scant leg room.
I suppose these charges to reserve your seat will be adopted by other airlines if this move by BA is a successful one. I’d better get onto Virgin quick before it becomes another budget airline disaster.